Former Eastenders star Martine McCutcheon has broken her silence following the death of her brother, aged 31. 

Ms McCutcheon, 46, who played Tiffany Mitchell in the BBC soap, has opened up on social media following the tragic death of her brother Laurence John, or LJ.

Alongside a heartwarming photo of the siblings together, the Love Actually actress mourned her younger brother, describing him as a 'gentle giant', a character and a 'huge heart'. 

The popular actress also updated fans that there was "no medical explanation" for his death and the cause is currently being investigated further.

Love Actually star Martine McCutcheon pays heartfelt tribute to brother

In the post, Ms McCutcheon wrote alongside a broken heart emoji: "My heart is forever broken… My baby brother, my gentle giant, sadly passed away, suddenly, 2 weeks ago. He was 31 years old.

"There is no medical explanation as to why we lost him so soon and whilst we investigate further, we are having to accept that nothing will bring our boy back to us.

"L.J (Laurence John) was born when I was 15 years old and from the moment I first held him in my arms, I felt so proud and fiercely protective of him. He was such a character!

The actress paid tribute to her brother by adding: "He made us all laugh and loved nothing more than making a plan, having a great play list, bringing people together and generally having a giggle. He hated the thought of a party ending and so was always on to the next thing!  

"LJ had a mild form of special needs and was very clever with gadgets & adored his cars! With unwavering love, support and a commitment to himself, he took hold of life with both hands and smashed through any expectation we had of him. He would genuinely blow us all away at times! He had a huge heart and adored Rafferty.

"He gave me so much, he was my anchor, my radar of what really mattered in life and whilst he was always so proud of me and would tell the world I was his sister - I always wanted to protect him from the limelight and the characters that could be drawn to him for the wrong reasons. He travelled the world, he had parents, sisters, a brother and friends that couldn’t have loved him more! He could have you infuriated one minute and laughing the next with his dimples and soppy smile.

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The heartbreaking tribute continues by noting that LJ had recently fallen in love and was due to get married next month.

The actress wrote: "I was asked to be bridesmaid and the last time I saw him, was a few days before he passed. He, jack and his future stepson had been to try on their wedding suits and then they came back to have dinner with his fiancée and the family to see our new home. He looked so tanned, tall and handsome. The best I’ve ever seen him… Ironic really…

Concluding her tribute, she added:"My heart aches for all who have lost him. But my heart breaks for our mum, his dad John & his Step parents. You should never outlive your children. Im scared to live without you LJ but I know you will want us to truly live, laugh and love in your memory. I will try I promise."

Fans and famous faces have flooded Martine's social media comments with best wishes and love for the actress and her family. 

BBC Radio One DJ Clara Amfo wrote:" So sorry to learn this Martine, sending lots of love xxx"

Chatty Man Alan Carr posted with four red hearts:"Martine!! That’s so awful sending you so much love right now."

While fellow Eastenders actress Patsy Palmer added:" My heart is broken for you all I know how much you loved him and he loved you . RIP Beautiful boy."

Martine also posted a video on Friday thanking fans for their support during the difficult time.

She said: "It's my first time on Insta since I shared my post about losing my brother a couple of weeks ago. Firstly, thank you so much for the outpouring of love, it means so much to my family, I can't tell you."

"Today was my first day going back to work, I didn't know if I could do it or not, I was nervous, a bit of filming and a meeting, since I've mentioned it, and I'm so glad I did it."

She went on: "I know my brother would want me to keep on keeping on and he was so proud of me and the fact that I liked to inspire people and make them feel good and give them a little bit of magic where I could, so I felt him with me, and I did it, first day back so yeah, yeah I did it."